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Product Liability Insurance vs. General Liability Insurance for Landscaping Companies

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The landscaping business can be a tricky one to navigate. While there are plenty of rewards, there are also a high number of risks involved.

Knowing those risks, you’ve likely already looked into coverage options such as commercial general liability insurance and product liability insurance to cover potential problems that may arise.

When weighing your options, you might be wondering which coverage option is better for your business. The truth is — it’s better to have both when it comes to lawn care. 

While there are many safety courses and resources available, landscaping is still one of the most hazardous jobs out there. For this reason, when it comes to coverage, more is always the better option.

Because the two types of coverage differ significantly, you will see benefits for your business from having both. Choosing only one option may leave you lacking serious coverage if something were to happen on a job site.

So, what are the differences between general liability and product liability?


General Liability Insurance Coverage

When you own a business, general liability insurance was likely the first option that came to mind. It is somewhat of a default thought for anyone looking to protect themselves and their business.

With general liability, you receive coverage for several hazards that may occur while working in a customer’s yard and some potential personal risks.

1. Customer Injuries

Doing a thorough job in someone’s yard is a vital part of being successful as a landscaper. You want to be sure you’ve picked up all possible debris lying around before you begin mowing and that all the ruts or holes are filled after you have finished landscaping.

However, accidents happen, and people make mistakes. There might have been a stray rock you missed before you began mowing. Or, you may have left a hole in the customers yard unfilled. 

If that rock gets caught in your mower and goes flying, hitting your customer, you’re responsible. Just the same, if your customer steps in the hole you forgot and breaks their leg, that falls on you as well.

Though that sounds like a one in a million chance, the odds may not be as low as you’d think. Accidents can happen to anyone. No matter how careful you are, there is always a risk.

When you have general liability coverage for your business, instances like these don’t have to mean financial ruin for you or your business. You’ll be covered under your policy for any medical bills your customer may incur. It also helps with attorney fees you may have to pay if your customer chooses to take legal action.

2. Property Damages

Just as there are potential hazards for your customer, there are also hazards for their property. Your customer’s home is at just as much risk as your customer themselves for accidents to occur.

Consider again a stray rock that was missed during pick up before mowing. This time, rather than it heading for your customer as it flings out of your mower, it heads for their home and shatters their window instead.

Without general liability coverage, you’ll be stuck footing the bill for the replacement window.

It gets worse. if you can’t cover the costs out of pocket and you don’t have insurance to help pay for a replacement, your customer may try to sue you for the damages. This means you’ll be spending even more money in court defending yourself.

General liability protects you from potential property damages that might occur, along with legal coverage if your customer tries to sue.

3. Slander Defense

Working with people can be tricky. There may be some people you can’t please, no matter how hard you try.

When your business relies on customers, having a good reputation makes all the difference. When people know you are reliable and great at what you do, they will want to hire you as their landscaper.

But what happens when someone is dissatisfied with your service and begins telling people, either written or verbally, not to hire you?

If the person is lying, this can be considered slander. Remember that for an incident to be truly considered slander, the person’s words have to have negative consequences for your business.

If you can prove that, you can sue for slander. And having general liability protection can help cover the costs. Without the coverage, you may be stuck paying the court costs out of pocket or simply accepting the loss of business.

This can also apply if your business is sued for slander. If you or one of your employees is overhead speaking poorly about a competitor, they may want to sue you for slander. Or, someone may falsely accuse you of slandering them. This can land you in hot water defending yourself in court.

The good news? Your insurance policy will help you cover court costs and attorney fees to defend yourself so you are not stuck footing the bill.

Product Liability Insurance Coverage

Product liability may not be your first thought for coverage in the lawn care business. When you imagine product liability, you likely think of people who actually sell a product rather than a service.

It’s not as unnecessary as you might think, however. Although a landscaping business doesn’t outright sell products to customers, you have products included in your service.

Purchasing flowers, trees, or even sod for a job in someone’s yard are considered products from your business. And if anything were to go wrong with those products, the customer could hold you responsible.

Without the coverage of product liability, you could end up paying the total cost to replace whatever faulty products the customer received. When you think of replacing a few flowers, this doesn’t seem so bad. But consider an entire yard full of sod or expensive trees the customer wanted. Those costs can add up quickly.

It’s better to have protection in place just in case something were to happen. Just like general liability covers potential accidents on the job, product liability covers potential product accidents.

It’s Worth the Cost to Have the Coverage

While you may not want to shell out money for both general liability and product liability coverage, there isn’t any overlap in what they cover. One without the other doesn’t give you the full coverage and peace of mind you can have with both.

Though it seems excessive and pessimistic to always expect the worst, it’s the best mindset to have when you’re considering what coverage you need for your landscaping business. 

The odds might not be high that all these horrible instances will occur, but all it takes is one stray rock or a bad batch of sod to deplete your bank account if you’re not covered. 

Make sure you are covered with business use car insurance. Having the coverage you need means you can spend more time doing what you love and less time worrying about unexpected accidents and expenses. 

Alexandra Arcand writes and researches for the insurance comparison site, TheTruthAboutInsurance.com, and enjoys helping lawn care businesses find insurance options that work for them.

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